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Iowa Campus Ministry Joins Skunk River Cleanup


For 10 years, Jim Colbert, biology professor at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, has been wading into Skunk River with his students to pull out trash.

Members of Areopagus, the CRC campus ministry at Iowa State, help clean up Skunk River. (Photo: Erin Magnuson-Struik)

This year Justin Struik, leader of the Christian Reformed campus ministry Areopagus at Iowa State, saw what the professor was doing and wanted his ministry to become a part of it. “We wanted to do something, a service activity, that would communicate that God is at work restoring creation,” Struik said.

For two weekends this fall, five members of the Areopagus campus ministry joined Colbert and his team as they waded through the river, two-and-a-half miles at a time.

They trail canoes behind them, making sure they take whatever garbage they can with them.

In the decade that Colbert and his classes have been doing this, they have collected 60,000 pounds of trash, including everything from old tires and bathtubs to flashlights, eyeglasses, and 50-gallon drums. Once they even found a water heater.

“I got really excited about the project,” Struik said. “I feel it fits well into our mission and into our theology.

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